The Nashville Predators did not have enough playing time to satisfy their top two goaltenders. Similarly, they lacked a sufficient number of picks in next week’s entry draft to satisfy their scouting department.
Now everyone feels a little better.
The Predators got two second-round picks in the 2012 draft and three selections in all from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday in a deal that sent backup goalie Anders Lindback to the Lightning.
“Anders, we think, is a real good prospect, a top goaltender,” general manager David Poile said. “… Obviously, Tampa Bay is planning on him being their number-one goaltender. We wish Anders a lot of luck.”
Due to deals made at or near the trade deadline back in February, Nashville was without any first or second-round picks in the draft, which begins next Friday at Pittsburgh.
This deal brought the 37th overall selection (originally Minnesota’s) and the 50th overall selection (originally Philadelphia’s) along with the Lightning’s third-round choice in 2013. For procedural purposes, the Predators also got goalie Sebastien Caron, a free-agent-to-be who will not be retained.
In addition to Lindback, a seventh-round pick in 2008 who appeared in 38 games over the last two seasons, Nashville also gave up minor league forward Kyle Wilson.
“I think Tampa Bay realized the potential in [Lindback],” Poile said. “I think they paid a fair price. They’re happy. We’re happy. Now we just have to find a second goalie.”
He suggested that might happen during the free agency period, which commences July 1. Poile said the team has identified several veteran free agents who look suitable to serve as Pekka Rinne’s backup.
First, though, the personnel department is focused on the draft — long a primary focus of its offseason efforts.
“This is really good for us in that,” Poile said. “… I did make a number of trades at the trading deadline and we had a lot of holes in our draft board this year. Except for not having a first-round pick … I think we’re in really good shape.
“I know our scouts are more excited than they were 24 hours ago.”
Chances are Lindback, 24, feels better as well.
He went 11-5-2 as a rookie in 2011-12 and kept the team competitive when Rinne twice was sidelined by knee injuries. Last season he appeared in just 16 games and went 5-8-0 while Rinne tied a franchise record with 73 games played, 72 starts.
The team’s long-term plans at that position were solidified last November, when Rinne signed a seven-year, $49 million contract, which begins with the 2012-13 season.
“[Lindback] is a good goaltender and gives us a great tandem [with Rinne],” Poile said. “… He needed to move on. He’s not a backup goalie. He’s a number-one goalie. It’s his time to have that situation.”
And the Predators won’t have to wait nearly so long for their time to pick in next week’s draft.